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Exploring Instructional Intelligence and its application in the classroom Davis College/ MCFE staff presentation 27th August 2010. What is Instructional Intelligence?. Promoting excellence in teaching and learning

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Exploring Instructional Intelligence and its application in the classroomDavis College/ MCFE staff presentation27th August 2010

What is instructional intelligence
What is Instructional Intelligence?

  • Promoting excellence in teaching and learning

  • Major research indicates that best means of improving student achievement is improving the instructional practices of teachers

  • Learning from up-to-date research

  • Continuous Professional Development

  • Professional status of educators

  • Co Cork VEC/IVEA/University of Ontario

What is instructional intelligence1
What is Instructional Intelligence?

  • The art and science of teaching

  • Focus on how knowledge of instruction can help to create powerful learning environments

  • The importance of “deep understanding”

  • Avoiding “the inevitable implementation dip”

Some research conclusions
Some research conclusions

  • Teacher knowledge about the teaching and learning process is the most powerful predictor of student success (content knowledge and process knowledge)

  • Spending money on teacher learning is the best investment in terms of student learning

    • (Marzano, 1998; Greenwald, Hedges, Laine, 1996)

Some research conclusions1
Some research conclusions

Characteristics of expert teachers:

  • Use knowledge about students and how they learn to fashion lessons

  • Connect ideas to students’ experiences

  • Create variety of learning opportunities to make subject come alive for students who learn in different ways

  • Support students’ development and motivation to achieve

  • Create steps to help students progress towards more complicated ideas and performances

    • (Darling-Hammond 1998)

Some research conclusions2
Some research conclusions

Characteristics of teachers who are artful in applying the science of teaching:

  • Intelligence about the learner and being able to respond

  • Weave together a variety of concepts

  • Interpersonal intelligence-emotional intelligence

  • Ever deepening understanding of subject matter

  • Wisdom about use of assessment data and how to act on what data says

    • Bennet and Rolheiser, 2008

Aims for this afternoon
Aims for this afternoon

  • To deepen our understanding of what is meant by Instructional Intelligence

  • To explore the concept of motivation

  • To consider the importance of instructional organisers in designing learning environments

Instructional intelligence involves awareness of
Instructional Intelligence involves awareness of…

  • Instructional concepts

  • Instructional skills

  • Instructional tactics

  • Instructional strategies

  • Instructional instructional organizers

    • Collectively, these concepts are known as pedagogy

Instruction can be classified into 5 areas
Instruction can be classified into 5 areas

  • Instructional concepts

  • Instructional skills

  • Instructional tactics

  • Instructional strategies

  • Instructional organizers

    The red guide; you enact and integrate the green

David perkins 1994
David Perkins (1994)

“It is an everyday observation that often people do not develop robust intelligent behaviours in areas where they have a great deal of experience. We do not automatically learn from experience, even extended experiences. For instance, people play chess or bridge for years without ever getting better at it”.

Instructional skills

Skills are the instructional actions of teachers that enhance learning

They increase the chances that more complex instructional processes (tactics and strategies) are implemented

Most teachers are tacitly or unconsciously skilled

Framing questions

Applying wait time

Suspending judgment

Discussing the purpose of the lesson

Linking with students’ past experience

Responding to a ‘no’ response

Checking for understanding

Instructional Skills

Instructional tactics

A tactic fits between a skill and a strategy enhance learning

It is an action used to enrich or strengthen the application of a strategy

Can be linked to other tactics or skills

Tactics make strategies less complex and more workable


Think Pair Share


Venn Diagram

Flow Chart

Round Robin

3 Step Interview


Six Thinking Hats

Instructional Tactics

Graphic organizers
Graphic Organizers enhance learning

  • Word Webs

  • Time Lines

  • Flow Charts

  • Venn Diagrams

  • Fish Bone Diagrams

  • Ranking Ladders

  • Mind Maps

  • Concept Maps

Instructional strategies

Strategies are usually grounded in theory enhance learning

May involve a sequence of steps, or number of related elements

Have intended effect on student learning

Skills drive tactics, tactics and skills drive strategies


Concept Attainment

5 Basic Elements (of groupwork)

Mind Mapping

Concept Mapping


Academic Controversy

Group Investigation

Reading Recovery

Role play

ICT use (an aspect of)

Instructional Strategies

Instructional concepts

Concepts provide lenses to understand how, when and where to apply and integrate skills, tactics and strategies

Cannot be “done” in themselves, can be enacted through application of skills, strategies, tactics

For example: wait time and think/pair/share can invoke concepts of safety and accountability

Concepts (only)






Active Participation

Instructional Concepts

Instructional organisers
Instructional Organisers apply and integrate skills, tactics and strategies

  • Organisers are frameworks or bodies of research that assist teachers in organising an array of skills, tactics and strategies into a coherent set of teaching methods

  • They are the lenses that clarify or enhance thought about how we instruct

  • They increase teacher wisdom about the teaching and learning process, based on the needs and inclinations of the learner

Instructional organisers1

Multiple Intelligence apply and integrate skills, tactics and strategies




Brain Research

Critical Thinking

Child Development

Learning Difficulties

At Risk Environment

Co-operative Learning

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Instructional Organisers

Concept and skill relationship
Concept and skill relationship apply and integrate skills, tactics and strategies

  • Why do we need to be aware of the difference between concepts, skills, tactics, strategies and organisers?

  • Many experienced and effective teachers might not consciously realise the complexity around something as simple as asking a question so as to involve all students

  • Do they need to?

Concepts and skills
Concepts and skills apply and integrate skills, tactics and strategies

  • Without clear understanding, we are less able to thoughtfully meet with student needs

  • We can “do” skills, e.g. providing wait time for students to think about questions

  • We cannot “do” concepts, e.g. motivation, variety- we must do things to make these concepts come alive

  • These things we do are skills, tactics and strategies

  • We need to articulate our practice to be effective

  • Instructional concepts apply and integrate skills, tactics and strategies - safety, social justice, interest, accountability etc.

  • Instructional skills - wait time, framing questions, probing

  • Instructional tactics - Think Pair Share, Venn Diagrams, Word Webs

  • Instructional strategies - Concept Mapping, Academic Controversy

  • Instructional organizers - Multiple Intelligence, Bloom’s Taxonomy, learning disabilities, gender, culture, at risk factors

    The key point is to sense how the GREEN ones interact … and how the RED areas guide the teachers thinking and action of the green areas -- to create an impact.

Impact understood as power
Impact understood as ‘power’ apply and integrate skills, tactics and strategies

  • Power is a term that tells us how much of a difference an innovation makes.

  • Power generally increases as you shift from skills, to tactics, to strategies.

  • Strategies are researched based approaches supported by a theory - the most complex and powerful.

Our instructional task
Our instructional task apply and integrate skills, tactics and strategies

  • We need to move from being tacitly skilled in a limited number of instructional methods to being explicitly skilled with a higher number of instructional methods to increase learning and to facilitate teachers differentiating their instruction to meet diverse students’ diverse needs.

Integrating methods
Integrating methods apply and integrate skills, tactics and strategies

  • How do wait time, framing questions, think/pair/share, concept attainment, safety, accountability, active participation, Bloom’s Taxonomy, Brain Research, etc., work together?

  • Our conscious integration of these methods is the art of effective teaching

Everything a teacher does can be classified into four areas
Everything a teacher does can be classified into four areas

  • Information provided

  • Activities assigned or selected

  • Questions asked

  • Responses to students’ efforts

    Madeline Hunter

The concept of motivation
The Concept of Motivation

Why investigate motivation?

  • To understand the factors that increase the chances students want to be involved in learning

  • To see that motivation is just as important as having students actively involved and accountable

Why integrate motivation into lessons
Why integrate motivation into lessons?

  • When students are motivated to learn, they learn more and learn it faster. They are also less likely to misbehave.

  • Attribution Theory: unless students attribute their successes and failures to their own efforts, little or no long-term transfer of the motivation to learn will occur

What does research suggest
What does research suggest?

  • There are six concepts that we as teachers can control in the classroom that increase the chances students will be motivated. However:

  • Students must learn that their success or failure depends on their effort

  • If students who work hard do not achieve success, alternative strategies must be employed

  • Intrinsic motivation can be affected by teacher


  • If students regularly experience success and have a healthy self-concept, they need to have successful experiences 75% of the time

  • Students who do not experience success and who do not have a healthy self-concept need to experience success 90-95% of the time

How can we affect success
How can we affect success?

  • Teachers need to teach at the correct level of difficulty

  • Teachers must actively involve the learner in meaningful learning

  • Skills: framing questions with learner in mind, applying wait time

  • Strategy: Bloom’s Taxonomy

  • Tactic: think pair share

  • Organiser as appropriate

Bloom s taxonomy
Bloom’s Taxonomy

  • Remembering – recall, recite

  • Comprehension/Understanding-explain, provide examples

  • Application-act on understanding

  • Analysis-compare/ contrast, pull apart

  • Synthesis-reinvent, create, look at in a new way

  • Evaluation-judge based on criteria


  • If zero concern exists, there will probably be zero learning

  • Too much concern can lead students to becoming frustrated

  • Too little concern can lead to students becoming bored

  • How can we control concern?

How can we affect concern
How can we affect concern?

  • Increase accountability

    • Framing the question, wait time, checking homework

  • Increasing visibility

    • Moving around the room increases chances students will be involved in the lesson

  • Consequences

    • When students know they can enjoy the fruits of their effort, they are more inclined to complete the task

How can we affect concern1
How can we affect concern?

  • Time

    • If students know how much time they have to complete a task, they are more concerned about the intensity of their effort

  • Help

    • If students know that avenues of help exist, their level of concern is reduced

    • Guided practice

    • Value of peer learning


  • The more the learning relates to the students’ past, present or future learning, the greater the chances the students will be involved in the learning

  • Connecting to learning already stored in the brain

How can we affect meaning
How can we affect meaning?

  • Mental Set at beginning of lesson-providing a hook to arouse students’ curiosity

  • Sharing/ discussing/ negotiating the purpose of the lesson increases chances students will want to participate

  • Drama, role plays, field trips, discussion, films/ videos/ ICT workshops etc.

Positive feeling tone
Positive feeling tone

  • Making learning environment a safe one increases chance students will want to continue learning

  • Appropriately responding to students incorrect/ partially correct responses, silly responses, guesses is important

  • Impact on brain when threatened or placed under stress (Davidson and Cao, 1992)

  • Uncaring environment has negative impact on student learning (Soar and Soar, 1979)

  • Research on gifted children reports that students want teachers who care about them outside the classroom walls (Stelmaschuk, 1986)


  • People are motivated to do things that they find interesting

  • We attend to things that are novel, varied, vivid

  • Teachers who demonstrate humour and enthusiasm create interest

  • Enthusiasm increases student academic engaged time (Mary Collins, 1978)

  • Enthusiasm identified as a key characteristic of effective teachers (Ken Macrorie, 1986; William Hare, 1995)

Knowledge of results
Knowledge of results

  • When we know that what we are doing is being done well, or needs to be improved, and when we know what we must do to improve, we are motivated to continue

  • Monitoring students’ learning and adjusting teaching (checking for understanding) is important

  • Assessment and feedback

Motivating students
Motivating students

  • It is through our awareness of how organisers, skills, tactics, strategies and concepts can be integrated that we learn how to motivate students effectively

  • Being able to judge how best to integrate these factors that makes us effective teachers

  • Mastering “the artful science” of teaching

Motivation and the enthusiastic teacher
Motivation and the enthusiastic teacher

  • Research literature reports that when teachers are enthusiastic, students more likely to be focused on the information presented.

  • Humour and enthusiasm rank first in over 80% of responses by teachers asked to characterise their own great teachers (Bennet study)

What communicates enthusiasm

Vocal delivery

Word choice


Eye movement

Facial expressions



Energy level




What communicates enthusiasm?

Role of organisers
Role of organisers

  • Relates to specific bodies of knowledge rooted in research

  • Each body of knowledge is a lens through which we see our students’ needs and the diverse ways in which they learn

  • Being aware of these bodies of knowledge helps us to make wise decisions about how we design learning environments

Examples of organisers

Multiple intelligences

Emotional intelligence

Learning styles

Research on the human brain


Culture and ethnicity

Children at risk

Learning disabilities research

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Child development research

Examples of organisers

Multiple intelligence
Multiple intelligence

  • Originated with Howard Gardner in the 1960s

  • Reminds teachers that students bring different strengths to a learning situation

  • Educators focused on logical-mathematical and verbal-linguistic

  • We as teachers are by default socialised into not responding to the reality that students have different problem solving and creative skills

  • Each person possesses each of the intelligences and can develop each one

Multiple intelligence1









Multiple intelligence

Points to consider
Points to consider

  • What are the implications of this research for educators?

  • Moral imperative? Legal imperative?

  • How can I vary my teaching practice to reflect my deeper understanding of multiple intelligence and how students learn?

  • Effect on student motivation?

Lyndon johnson and vietnam 1963 1968
Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam, 1963-1968

  • Complex political issues

  • Need to make issues meaningful for students today

  • Need to arouse curiosity with a “hook”

  • Power of visual image

TIME magazine

“Man of the Year”,

1 January, 1965

Brain research
Brain research

  • Very influential body of research emerging in brain research

  • Like other organisers, being aware of this research can help us to make wiser choices about how to create meaningful and powerful learning environments for our students

Key ideas about brain research
Key ideas about brain research

  • The brain is “holistic”

    • We do not teach to one side or area

    • Structuring activities to nurture right or left side not supported by neurologists

  • The brain’s goal is survival

    • Functions more effectively in an environment where it is challenged but safe

    • Connects to interpersonal intelligence, emotional intelligence

Key ideas about brain research1
Key ideas about brain research

  • Emotion is powerfully connected to thinking

    • When students are emotionally engaged, they are more likely to retain the learning in long-term memory

    • When lesson is meaningful, novel and varied, students more likely to be successful and interested

Key ideas about brain research2
Key ideas about brain research

  • The brain remembers what is important

    • If learning not meaningful, relevant, authentic, the brain will get rid of it

  • The brain needs to make connections

    • Needs to sense relationships and analyse

    • Brain is a pattern seeker

    • Value of such tactics as Venn diagrams, Mind Maps, Time Lines etc.

Key ideas about brain research3
Key ideas about brain research

  • Intelligence is mediated/ enhanced by social situations

    • Brain needs to experience talk

    • Value of co-operative learning

  • The brain is hardwired for “Experience Expected” situations

  • The brain is also wired for “Experience Dependent” situations

    • Dendritic area increases throughout life, but most intensely when young

Key ideas about brain research4
Key ideas about brain research

  • Brains that live in enriched environments have 40% more neuron connections than brains that live in bland environments

  • Neurons more efficient with practice

  • Dull, boring environments cause loss of dendritic connection

  • Students need to actively and meaningfully engaged in relevant tasks

In conclusion
In conclusion:

  • Important to bear in mind:

    • the effective use of instructional strategies (e.g. groupwork, co-operative learning) and tactics (e.g. Venn diagrams, round robins, brainstorms etc) depends on how well the teacher invokes an interplay between concepts (e.g. accountability, motivation), organisers (e.g. multiple intelligence, brain research) and skills (e.g framing questions)

Final word
Final word

  • NB: The key to effective teaching is how we consciously integrate all these methods to improve student learning

  • We as teachers must move from being:

    “accidentally adequate”


  • “consciously competent”.

  • ad